Sculptor brings deadwood to life

Headshot of Sarah Ison
Sarah IsonBusselton Dunsborough Times

Working with some of the hardest woods in the world, Andrew Truscott is creating sculptures from native Australian timbers, painstakingly transforming ragged stumps and dead branches into masterful pieces of art for his exhibition, Whispering Wood.

Originally from the UK, where he trained as an artist, Truscott said his sculpting “all began down south” four years ago.

“I was living down here working in tree industry and that’s where my artistic skills came in as I realised the beauty of that wood,” he said.

“From there, I basically taught myself what tools you can use and what you can’t use, because what I’m working with is not what you’d call a sculpting wood.”

Truscott cuts sturdy pieces of jarrah and marri directly with a chainsaw, then uses a sanding dish to soften the material, before carving out the details of his sculptures by hand with sandpaper.

His pieces all depict the angular bodies and faces of women, often with flowing hair that demonstrate the grain of the wood used.

“I start from the tip of each nose and work inwards,” Truscott explained.

“It’s all about Mother Nature, incorporating the woodland themes into creating nymphs, with the ocean-side of creating sirens and mermaids.”

Despite the lengthy process, Truscott said creating artwork out of native timbers was rewarding in continuing the life of the tree. “The wood I’m using could’ve been from a tree that was 400 to 500 years old,” he said.

“Now it’s likely going to outlive all of us as a piece of art.”

Whispering Wood runs until April 8. See the Facebook event page Whispering Wood for more details.

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